On Sunday April 8th I attended the Little Models Inc. final held in the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Glasgow.
If you haven't heard about LMI Glasgow it's a model camp for children aged 3-12, however this is not your usual model camp - not a tantrum or tiara in sight. LMI promote natural beauty, improving confidence, encouraging self belief, and teaching the little models the importance of giving back by fundraising for long time charity partner of LMI, The John O'Byrne Foundation. The camp itself is set over four days -
- Studio Photo Shoot
- Location Shoot - held at Pollock Park
- Model Academy - which includes a confidence workshop and catwalk training.
- The Model Showcase Final
Kerenza, Ninos Y Ninas owner, sponsors the winner's prize and attends to present it. This year the organisers invited Kerenza to judge the competition alongside current 'Miss Scotland' Romi McCahill, Waterloo Road actor and talent scout Reece Donnelly, Kilmarnock footballer Dominic Thomas, model Nicola Mimnagh and Mr Fabulous himself, James Smith. I went along to see it all in action.
A slightly dramatic start to Sunday morning when the compere for the event, radio presenter Suzie McGuire, had an accident and couldn't attend. Fortunately showbiz journalist Beverley Lyons was able to step in and save the day! We got to hear a bit of showbiz gossip and giggled at her valiant attempt at pronouncing the name of Ninos Y Ninas. We were also treated to some fantastic acts throughout the day including singers Rianne Downey and Robin Ashcroft,dance group Dance Vibez and the very talented Irish dancer Oscar Donnelly who recently appeared on Steve Harvey's Little Big Shots in the USA and now has over 6 million views of his videos online.
So it began, 36 young models strutted their stuff on the catwalk in 3 different outfits - the first being their official LMI t-shirts teamed with jeans, then came their spring location photo outfit and finally their eco friendly themed outfits which are all made using recycled materials. I think this must have been the toughest round to judge because the effort that was put in by the children and their parents was outstanding - from paper flower dresses to kilts made from IKEA bags, this was definitely my favourite round of the competition. It's a different time from when I was a child, I'd have been sent down that catwalk wearing a bin bag or an undecorated cardboard box. Pinterest has certainly upped the crafty parent game over the years!
I have to say, watching the children take to the catwalk in a room of bright lights and strange faces with the spirit, courage and occasional shimmy or hair flick was quite something. All of the children today, from the Teeny Tiny 3-4's to the Mini and Little 8-12's were an absolute credit to their families and to the team at LMI Glasgow. I spoke to a couple of Model Mum's who were delighted with the results from the Model Academy especially the confidence workshops and praised the team for making the whole experience one that their children have absolutely loved to be a part of.
Before the winners were announced, John O'Byrne of the John O'Byrne foundation took to the stage with his friend Ella to tell us about the work they do and to announce the amount raised by the models. I had previously read about John and the incredible work he does with children who suffer with long term illnesses and spend long periods of time in hospital, but today I found out that he started his foundation with just £100 that he raised from a signed football and with that money he took a little girl who had spent a long time in the ICU of Yorkhill Children's Hospital to Disney on Ice to cheer her up. From there his passion and drive has taken his foundation from strength to strength and they have been able to send children on holidays all over the world, they gift them tickets for concerts & events, days out and even pamper sessions for their parents and trips to LapLand. We were shown a video of John and his team at work spreading their magic which was accompanied by Ella singing Photograph by Ed Sheeran. It was a beautiful few minutes and it certainly made me realise how lucky I am to have a healthy child. For so many families hospital stays are a part of normal life but thanks to inspirational people like John and his team these stays can be made a bit more bearable for all involved. John, we think you are wonderful and Ella - we'll see you on the X Factor! The total amount raised by the children to support this well deserving charity was an astounding £4069.00! The winner of the award for most money raised went to the Teeny Tiny group's Jayce Cooper Stafford who raised £607, a marvellous effort from Jayce and his family.
Finally the time had come, I reached the end of my day at LMI Glasgow and it was time to announce the winner of the £1000 cash prize and modelling contract with Ninos Y Ninas and in addition to the main prize, Kerenza also chose her own winner to do a photo shoot with their choice of outfit from the spring / summer collection. The overall winner of LMI Glasgow's spring academy was Emmanuela Ambrose. The judges were impressed with Emmanuela's confidence on stage and during her one to one interview, a beautiful, happy little girl and a very deserving winner. Kerenza's chosen winner was Braydon McVey, who won her over with his bag pipes and kilt made from Mother's Pride bread wrappers and his big smile. We are looking forward to seeing you in store soon Braydon!
Today all of the children left with a trophy and a certificate to mark their completion of Model Academy, no one went home empty handed and all the kids were so happy for the winners. As a mother myself I have never been one to put my child forward for any Bonnie Baby competitions or modelling because I live in fear of creating the next Honey Boo Boo. However today while watching Amanda, Ann Marie and the rest of the LMI Glasgow team I was made to rethink my decision. This team treat your children as if they were their own, they cheer for them, the get to know them, they want to see the children succeed, not just in modelling but in whatever they put their minds to. It's a wonderful environment that your child will thrive in, make new friends and learn to love themselves as well as the people around them. When my little Honey Boo Boo is old enough to enter I'll definitely sign her up. I can't guarantee she won't get chucked out after the first tantrum though, she's a fiesty one.
If my blog has got you interested in signing up for a future bootcamp, check out the website and select your nearest city to find out more.
Until next time,